In a response to a Request for Proposal from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA), Cablevision announced today that it has submitted a bid to bring its Optimum Wi-Fi to Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains on Long Island as well as in Westchester and Southern Connecticut. Access to the network will be free for Optimum Online customers, while everyone else will be able to make use of the service for “reasonable rates.” Cablevision currently has Optimum Wi-Fi hotspots in some 200 MTA stations, and says it is committed to having the hotspots up and running within 12 months and will build and maintain them on its own dime. Anyone hoping this proposal is accepted, especially in light of today’s unlimited-data-plan-killing announcement from AT&T? Let us know after hitting the jump to check out the press release. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.
CABLEVISION SUBMITS PROPOSAL TO MTA TO PROVIDE OPTIMUM WIFI ON LONG ISLAND RAIL ROAD AND METRO NORTH TRAINS
Company Would Extend The Nation’s Largest And Most Advanced WiFi Network To Entire MTA Rail System Within 12 Months Of Selection
BETHPAGE, NY, June 2, 2010 – Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) today submitted a proposal to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) to extend the Optimum WiFi network onto Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North trains within 12 months of selection at no cost to the MTA, providing wireless Internet access to travelers while in transit, in addition to the access that is already available on the train platforms and in parking lots at nearly 200 MTA commuter rail stations. The submission was in response to a formal Request For Proposals issued by the MTA. Optimum WiFi is already the nation’s largest and most advanced WiFi network, based on geographic coverage, providing fast and reliable wireless Internet access across Cablevision’s service area through tens of thousands of access points focused on high- traffic and commercial locations, downtown areas, parks and large indoor facilities including Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, Long Island MacArthur Airport and regional shopping centers like the Bergen Town Center.
“Access to the Internet on MTA trains will transform the riding experience, and we believe Cablevision is uniquely positioned to deliver this enhancement through the extension of Optimum WiFi – already the nation’s largest and most advanced WiFi network – onto the rails,” said John Bickham, Cablevision’s president of cable and communications. “As a New York-based company already providing popular WiFi access at nearly 200 MTA commuter rail stations we propose to deploy wireless Internet access across the entire MTA system within 12 months of selection, at no cost to the Transportation Authority or taxpayers.”
Under Cablevision’s proposal, submitted to the MTA today, the company would provide unlimited free access to its Optimum Online high-speed Internet customers and would provide a reasonable access option for non-customers. Cablevision would assume all costs associated with extending its Optimum WiFi network onto the trains and would also create a separate, private and secure, WiFi network exclusively for MTA use.
Cablevision customers today are accessing the Internet over Optimum WiFi more than 3 million times a month, at speeds of up to 3 megabits-per-second downstream and 1.5 Mbps upstream – significantly faster than 3G cellular networks that are increasingly overburdened by the exploding demands for data services by consumers using mobile Internet-enabled devices like the iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and notebook computers.
One of the key advantages of the Cablevision proposal to the MTA is that it provides for trackside WiFi backhaul – connected to Cablevision’s fiber optic wired network – as opposed to cellular transmission, ensuring network availability and sufficient bandwidth for riders. Trackside WiFi backhaul can support more than triple the number of simultaneous users and data capacity than a cellular-only option, promoting customer satisfaction by delivering a positive experience.